Over the years I’ve got used to my crockery leaping lemming like from the draining board when the Number One Son has been in charge of the drying up. His presence, once, was even enough to cause a glass fruit ball to leap to its doom from the top of the fridge. “I didn’t even touch it. Seriously,” he assured me as we removed the splinters of glass from the kitchen floor whilst he remained stranded like a little island in the midst of the chaos.
Then there was the occasion when the Number One Daughter came downstairs and handed her bewildered father a door handle, “It just came off in my hand,” she informed him icily before returning to her bedroom. It had nothing to do with her slamming the door. Obviously.
On Monday however the Little Madam reached new heights of brazen it wasn’t me-ness. “Mum, Mum. The washing line’s just fallen over.”
“What do you mean, fallen over?”
“The pole. It’s just fallen over.”
Unfortunately the line was laden with the assorted laundry items of three Little Madams. The Number One Daughter hauled the pole off the ground and the Little Madams were instructed to remove the now dry garments as quickly as possible. And what do you do in an emergency like that? Who you going to call? Call Ghostbusters? No, they’d be no help whatsoever… you call Dad.
HWIOO and I had literally just stepped through the front door after an afternoon of chasing little girls on bikes – which isn’t as bad as it sounds given that we were teaching them to ride the aforementioned bikes at the time when the summons arrived – and now I’ve moved into Thunderbirds territory – trouble is that my particular Thunderbird isn’t so much go, as go to sleep. Though I am starting to move like a wooden puppet come to think of it.
By this morning the Little Madam had admitted that she might have been swinging off the washing post just before it fell, not that the two events were necessarily linked and if there were going to be any accusations she wanted her lawyer present. It possibly did’t help that Toby has spent the last seven years blessing the pole on a regular basis – he made no comment. Between the two of them it was laundry pole disaster.
Today we replaced the pole. It required a concerted effort from all of us because HWIOO had given the original pole, which was a good half meter longer than the new one (an example of austerity Britain perhaps?), an impressive pair of concrete boots which needed to be removed before he could replace the pole. The girls had dug a small trench before our arrival and were busily rehoming the local worm population as we arrived. HWIOO dug out a hole around the concrete and then an additional slope to drag the aforementioned cube from the ground with the help of Worm Rescue International. Then there was just the little matter of shifting it. HWIOO had the spade, The Number One Daughter used the broken pole as a lever and I was left with the old laundry line to use as a rope to haul upon with the Right Little Madam’s assistance.
Guess who ended up in an empty paddling pool when the line snapped under the strain? Do granny’s come under the Sale of Goods Act – because quite frankly right now I don’t think I’m fit for purpose. Or should I have had an extended warrantee? I’ve bounced across the Number One Daughter’s lawn, been used as a springboard for vaulting in Ikea (don’t ask – it ended in disaster) and done more running than is natural. The problem really was that the Littlest Madam was learning to pedal her bike with stabilisers whilst the other two whizzed off. She and I felt the need for speed – sadly there was no Top Gun music to encourage me as I charged along the path looking like a cross between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and a large out of breath crab as I pushed and steered a very small bike at the same time as trying to look where I was going. What I did have was the Littlest Madam peddling like mad, hair billowing behind her and a huge smile on her face yelling, “Again! Again!” every time I stopped. And what’s a granny going to do in that instance. Yes, quite right. Do it again until forced to sit down before she falls down.
I thought I’d got away with it. Then I tried to get out of bed this morning….
“Granddad,” The Little Madam announced over lunch, “is broken because he’s old.” Sensibly she didn’t venture to offer a similar rationale for my current predicament but the inference was clear.